It’s an all Marvel show this week in the round-up with reviews of Fantomex MAX #2 and Mighty Avengers #3. Fitting really, considering this week sees the release of another installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the announcement Marvel is working with Netflix bring even more live-action heroes to the small screen. Anyway, on to the comics!
FANTOMEX MAX #2/ Written by ANDREW HOPE/ Art by SHAWN CRYSTAL/ Colors by LEE LOUGHRIDGE/ Letters by JOE SABINO/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Fantomex has been a part of a lot of really great moments in past issues of Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-force. Through that development it seems that Fantomex should be tailor-made for the gritty, brutal Marvel MAX line. Sadly, Fantomex MAX #2 falls flat with a plot that seems to go nowhere.
Hope seems to understand who Fantomex is as a character, yet there’s simply nothing in the plot to help him shine. The underwater espionage situation he is placed in is just so boring. The story picks up after a super-villain/covert government group blackmails Fantomex into stealing the master key to a global defense weapons system. Fantomex finds himself at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, where Hope focuses the bulk of the story on his attempt to break into a high-tech research faculty.
When Hope transitions to the actions of Grover Lane (possibly the weirdest covert government/super-villain team name ever), the development still seems stagnant. Sure, there’s brutality and an awkward female on female rape sequence that helps fill the MAX quota of mature content, yet the story never seems to grab any attention.
Crystal’s art is cartoonish and awkward. At times, it seems like he’s making fun of the whole MAX concept by placing Disney-esqe caricatures of fish on the walls of Fantomex’s watery dungeon. While this is just one panel in the comic, other aspects like Fantomex’s eyes either bugging out or looking weepy like a cartoon puppy doesn’t portray a gritty tone that one expects out of this storyline.
Overall, with the stagnant story and awkward illustrations, Fantomex MAX #2 is a comic that can easily be passed up.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #3/ Written by AL EWING/ Art by GREG LAND/ Inks by JAY LEISTEN/ Colors by FRANK D’ARMATA/ Letters by VC’s CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Mighty Avengers’ pilot arc concludes with this issue, finishing off the team’s assembly and mission to save New York from Thanos’ invasion and its horrible tentacle Eldritch Abominations (thanks, Doctor Strange). It’s been a good to pretty good three issues, and the quality of story will, with any luck, only get better.
Ewing’s script is a great read. The team is almost completely assembled at this point, with Falcon and She-Hulk set to join up later. Everyone is where they need to be to move forward and be true Avengers, coming together to protect the world when other heroes, on their own, cannot. In a very sweet moment, Luke’s speech reaffirms this, but also includes everyone – even the reader – as Avengers, people able to band together to do good in the world. Everyone on the team works well together at this point, even Spider-Ock as the resident jerk. It was cool that Aya and Monica were ultimately the ones to save the day: Aya embraces being an Avenger as a way to make her life count, and Monica’s desire to revamp herself in issue one is completed her by becoming even more powerful than she already was.
On the art side of the book, Greg Land is still working on pencils. Jay Leisten’s inks are pretty good, and Cory Petit’s lettering is fun. But the real star is Frank D’Armata and his coloring. His work is absolutely gorgeous – it’s smooth and detailed and it actually shines. His best work is on the cosmic elements, particularly the White Tiger spirit and Shuma-Gorath’s respawn, as well as the scene where Blue Marvel saves Monica and gives her a power upgrade. It’s really stunning work, and if Marvel can lock him down to the title then they ought to.
Altogether Mighty Avengers #3 is a solid conclusion to a solid arc, and most of the art team’s work alone justifies checking it out.